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20 gauge birdshot to face and lives - report

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by DigMe, Jun 29, 2005.

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  1. DigMe

    DigMe Member

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    Some of you may have seen my previous posts like this but I have lots of doctor friends and a couple of them always share with me when they have gunshot wounds come in. Here's another one:

    One of my friends was telling me tonight about how they recently had a man come into the ER who had been shot directly in the face at close range with a 20gauge loaded with birdshot. It wasn't point blank but it was very close. The man was alert and walking around almost as if he nothing was wrong except that he had a 20gauge shell worth of birdshot embedded in his face and head. None of the shot penetrated the man's skull or made it to his brain.

    This just confirms what I already knew. Studies seem to indicate that the minimum shotgun load that offers deep enough penetration to be consistently terminal is 1 buck. I've heard many people say that they load their shotguns with birdshot to avoid overpenetration. I've never felt like that is a good idea and this further reinforces that for me.

    brad cook
     
  2. Cesiumsponge

    Cesiumsponge Member

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    The skull would probably be the worst place to aim with birdshot considering birdshot consists of many tiny, light pellets. I've taken birdshot to thin sheet metal before (microwave) and it only chips the paint off it. The skull is relatively thick bone and I can't imagine birdshot having enough energy to pierce bone. There was a kid who put a .22(LR?) to his head and pulled the trigger. The bullet got lodged between his skin and his skull. Then again, I remember that case where someone jammed a BFK (big effing knife) through someone's skull and it was sticking out of the victims head :what:

    If that man took a shell of birdshot to the neck, the big, shallow, ground beef wound would probably have killed him considering the vitals in the neck are shallow and aren't protected by a bone structure.
     
  3. esldude

    esldude Member

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    Yep people just don't want to believe it. But bird shot just won't usually get it done. Have seen pictures of police during entry shot with birdshot from 5 feet. Bad looking for the skin. But not enough penetration to do much damage. Painful, though the policeman finished taking part in the entry.
     
  4. Nnobby45

    Nnobby45 Member

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    Birdshot is deadly when it's all together before it spreads. Once it does, it has no penetrating power on human adversaries and is easily defeated by heavy clothing. It's common to find birdshot, 7 1/2's and 6's, under the near skin of gamegirds like chukar and quail.
     
  5. monsternav

    monsternav Member

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    Some more evidence (anecdotal here), that birdshot just isn't enough. I vacillated on this with my HD shotgun (I am an apartment dweller). I have gone with buckshot, because of things like this.
     
  6. Fluffster

    Fluffster Member

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    Wouldn't this usually apply when used for home protection indoors?
     
  7. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Bird shot may not be lethal, but I'd guess it's usually enough to stop a criminal from completing his crime.
     
  8. esldude

    esldude Member

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    Yeah, maybe birdshot will 'usually' stop a criminal.

    Buckshot will be more likely to stop a criminal.
     
  9. No_Brakes23

    No_Brakes23 Member

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    Heh heh, on the U.S.S. Belleau Wood, there was a really annoying kid who wouldn't shut up. He had numerous facial blemishes that made him look like he had been shot in the face with birdshot.

    So that's what we called him.

    "Birdshot"

    I haven't thought about that for almost 6 years.
     
  10. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    Birdshot is plenty lethal, just depends on its application. Like mentioned, if the pattern is tight, as in a full choked scattergun at short range, there isn't any reason why it won't get the job done. If you step up to premium shot such as remington Hevishot, the penetration is pretty amazing compared to steel or lead shot.

    For every story about bird shot not penetrating one's skull at close range, there are probably 10 stories where the shot does.
     
  11. DigMe

    DigMe Member

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    I think most of the time it would in the case of a common burglar. However, someone comes into my houes amped up on meth or PCP and has a weapon I want more than birdshot on my side. Especially when the crime your trying to stop is your own murder.

    brad cook
     
  12. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    Brad,

    Nothing wrong with anecdotal evidence, when all the facts are in place. It sounds to me as if in the case you mention, the range may well have been longer than the 'across the room' distances at which birdshot can be effective in a defensive shotgun. Or the angle of incidence may have been other than straight on. No matter what the patient in question sounds lucky to still have his vision. I have sufficient personal familiarity with 'rathole wounds' after spending six years as an EMT not to dismiss birdshot in a shotgun out of hand. At ranges of a few feet, it can be highly lethal.

    That said, I prefer to load my own defensive shotgun with low-recoil 00 or standard loads of #1 buck depending on which gun is at hand, and back up the buckshot with slugs just in case. No matter what, nothing beats testing and patterning with a specific gun under predictable conditions at known range in order to determine what a given load will or will not do. It is not a good idea to make too many assumptions where shotguns are concerned.

    Stay safe,

    lpl/nc
     
  13. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

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    I agree that if its in a solid clump that birdshot is adequate. I will also point out that the range at which birdshot opens up out of a short open-choked shotgun is LESS than the longest distance in my college dorm-room.
     
  14. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

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    Birdshot this, birdshot that! :cuss:

    "Birdshot" can be #7.5 or 8 OR is can be lead BB's or #2.
    I think that the larger "birdshot" should be considered seperately from the 6, 7.5 8 crowd.

    David
     
  15. Silent-Snail

    Silent-Snail Member

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    Wow in my own experience(sp?) birdshot would put a dent about 8" wide and 2" deep in the old fridge I used as a target for years, this was at about 8 - 10 yards. Is there that big of a diferance between a 12 gauge and a 20?
     
  16. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Anectdotal?

    I'm not sure it's anectdotal rather than incomplete or biased. What was the range, shot size, weight of total load, etc.? While I wouldn't want 3/4 oz. of #8's to rely on, at room distance I don't want to tangle with any of it, esp. 5's or larger. If we're going to talk single cases of failure, I personally saw a Somali take 3 9mm's to the torso and stay mobile. Down with the 9, eh?
     
  17. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    You mean to tell me that placement is not everything??? But, but he was shot in the HEAD! :rolleyes:
     
  18. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Okay, guys - I've actually tested some stuff. Between 5-7 yards.

    Up through #6, you had _all_ rifle/handgun bullets penetrate both sides of a drywall wall.

    From #6 through #9, it'd blow through one side, and be stuck under the paper on the other side. LARGE hole on the business side. I'm guessing 5-6" or so. I'd guess the pattern was the size of my fist going in...

    At that distance, I would NOT want to be shot with a Winchester AA Superlight Featherweight Whateverthehecktheycallit #9 Target load (the wimpiest 12 gauge factory load I know of...). Everything's still close enough together that you're going to get hamburger as a result. At that range, there wouldn't be enough of the anectdotal fellow's face to recognize as human, he'd be blind, and more than likely twitching on the floor.

    Think of this... 1 ounce of shot moving at over 800 fps - that's gonna leave a mark if it is still close to together. And if someone's further than 21 feet from me, it's behind a door, lock it, and grab a buckshot shotgun, a rifle or handgun.
     
  19. goalie

    goalie Member

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    I was rather impressed with what #4 birdshot did to a guy who came through the ER one night. It most definately was able to "get the job done" more than adaquately.
     
  20. DigMe

    DigMe Member

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    Hey guys I'm not saying that birdshot CAN'T be lethal. I'm saying that it's not consistent enough. I did not form that opinion based on this incident but rather through lots of reading and through my own usage of birdshot. This to me just illustrates that inconsistency. Here we have a guy who was shot in the head, the "sweet spot" of incapacitation, if you will, and took the brunt of the BBs to the face and he's fine. Not to say that it could not have killed him if shot just right in just the right place at just the right distance, but who has time for all that when you're facing, for example, three guys kicking your door in about to rush you?!

    However, I think Fackler, Roberts et al are right. For CONSISTENT incapacitation (which doesn't mean it incapacitates 100% of the time either) I'll take buckshot.

    brad cook
     
  21. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    I don't know if this relates or not but five years ago a young man attempted suicide by shooting himself in the mouth with a 20 guage shotgun loaded with a #6 shot field load.
    The blast removed his face from the upper mandible to the top of the cranium.
    The blast also removed the forward portion of his frontal lobes.
    The young man survived for 18 hours in a vegetative state before infection set in and shut his system down.
    This manner of suicide and the failure of the individual to inflict a fatal wound is more common than most people might think.
    The suicidal individuals angle the muzzle too far forward and remove the facial platform rather than directing the blast back into the cranial cavity and the brain proper.
    Heck of a way to pass on.

    The skull is an extremely hard surface area to penetrate with a projectile.
    Mass with velocity is the recipe needed to successfully induce penetration.

    However the brain itself is relatively easy to degrade and injure.
    While penetration of the skull may not occur, the impact force itself can be enough to incure long term and permanent brain injury and disfunction.

    The individual who survived the shotgun blast to the face may have survived the incident but I'm betting he will never recover total control of himself again.
     
  22. rem

    rem Member

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    Yep, as a matter of fact here is a snippet of a story I just read that was posted by 4v50 Gary in "A collection of bedtime stories - or sharpshooter tales" of such an incident, but in this case the subject incurred long term death. ;)

    "A moment later a minnie ball well spent in its force struck a soldier in the forehead, but did not penetrate the skin. He jestingly remarked that they came near getting him that time, and while thus joking, he fell and expired, concussion caused death.”"
     
  23. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

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    As some others have stated above, I have opted for #1 shot for interior home defense SD rounds. It is a compromise between ineffective birdshot (#6 or #7) and buckshot that will easily overpenetrate interior walls.
     
  24. KnightHawk67

    KnightHawk67 Member

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    Here is an idea!

    7 rounds in your HD shotgun, incrementally increasing from small to 00 then a couple slugs to top it off. If BG keeps coming, he gets hurt worse. :evil:
     
  25. Vic303

    Vic303 Member

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    Am just about to swap out my HD load in the 870. I will be switching to 'birdshot (#6-8)' for all but the last 1-2 rnds and those will be 00 buck. I have several small kids and NEED to limit possible penetration through walls. The last round or two will be the 'last ditch defense' ones, in case the zombie hordes survive the first 5-6 shots & the 1911 rounds following.
     
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